Developing an Extended Model of the Relation between Work Motivation and Health as Affected by the Work Ability as Part of a Corporate Age ...

 
Developing an Extended Model of the Relation between Work Motivation and Health as Affected by the Work Ability as Part of a Corporate Age ...
International Journal of
           Environmental Research
           and Public Health

Article
Developing an Extended Model of the Relation
between Work Motivation and Health as Affected by
the Work Ability as Part of a Corporate Age
Management Approach
Annemarie Feißel 1, *, Richard Peter 2 , Enno Swart 1 and Stefanie March 1          ID

 1    Institute for Social Medicine and Health Economics, Faculty of Medicine, Otto-von-Guericke University
      Magdeburg, Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany; enno.swart@med.ovgu.de (E.S.);
      stefanie.march@med.ovgu.de (S.M.)
 2    Institute of the History, Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine, Ulm University, Parkstraße 11, 89073 Ulm,
      Germany; richard.peter@uni-ulm.de
 *    Correspondence: annemarie.feissel@med.ovgu.de
                                                                                                       
 Received: 15 February 2018; Accepted: 14 April 2018; Published: 17 April 2018                         

 Abstract: Due to demographic changes, the employee structure in companies is changing dramatically.
 It will be necessary to offer employees suitable, age-adequate jobs. As one of its foremost goals,
 optimized business management strategies must create conditions for guaranteeing a person’s health,
 work ability, and work motivation. In the context of corporate age management concepts, the
 literature recommends to retain and integrate older employees in the organization. This paper aims
 at developing an extended model of the relation between work motivation and health as affected
 by work ability and at deriving a host of measures that enterprises can apply as part of a corporate
 age management policy to counteract the impact of demographic changes. The model also takes
 into consideration factors influencing the relation between work motivation and health as affected
 by work ability (socio-demographic parameters, occupation, work-related stress). Additionally, the
 extended model translates the literature-based results into a corporate setting by way of a corporate
 age management program. The model comprises a process focusing on retaining and promoting work
 ability in order to maintain or boost work motivation and health. The host of measures presented
 serves as a basis to preventively counter demographic change on an individual, interpersonal, and
 structural level.

 Keywords: work motivation; health; work ability; corporate age management; lidA-study;
 older employees

1. Introduction
      Due to demographic changes, enterprises face dramatic changes in their employee structure.
Studies and statistics from the U.S. [1,2], Canada [3], and Europe [4], for example from The
Netherlands [5], show a rise in the age of the potential work force and a decrease in the number
of employees. Consequently, both society and individual companies perceive an increasing need to
offer employees age- and health-adequate jobs in order to retain their productivity in the labor market
until they reach legal retirement age (and beyond that, if they so desire) [6]. In addition, the wish to
retire early also plays an important role. According to Hasselhorn and Ebener [7], there are persons fit
to work who want to quit their professional life for reasons of personal motivation. Various influencing
factors such as one’s state of health, work ability, and other important work-related aspects play a
central role when a person opts to end his or her career early. The meaning and importance of a

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 779; doi:10.3390/ijerph15040779     www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 779                                                  2 of 14

person’s job and the challenges connected with it are rather seen as motivators for keeping one’s job,
whereas job demands and limited personal freedom or control are considered as risk factors for early
retirement [7]. Accordingly, it is difficult to draw a clear dividing line between work motivation and
the desire to retire. Early prevention can therefore be seen as a precondition to keeping one’s job until
old age. How enterprises will successfully deal with the far-reaching demographic changes in the
labor market will have a lasting effect on a company’s success [8].
      Success in guaranteeing work participation is largely determined by work ability and work
motivation [6]. Therefore, optimized business management strategies must not only aim at protecting
health but also at safeguarding the employees’ motivation and work ability [8].
      This has consequences for work-related primary prevention [7], which is primarily a company’s
responsibility. It should be the one to find adequate solutions. In view of corporate age management
concepts, Naegele and Walker [9] recommend to take steps to retain and integrate older people in
the labor market. A corporate age management program will enable businesses to respond to and
counteract demographic changes, the aging of their staff and the ensuing challenges. A corporate age
management policy does not only have advantages for (older) employees but enterprises themselves
can and will benefit from it, too [9].
      Based on existing models relating both to maintaining and boosting the health of employees
as well as motivational aspects, this paper intends to develop an extended model of the association
between work motivation and health as affected by the work ability. So far, no previous model
has linked age management and theories on health, work ability, and work motivation. In light
of demographic challenges and the foreseeable shortage of labor, employees and employers need
to consider these aspects within an age management policy. This approach will also create a
competitive advantage. In the end, older employees will be able to enjoy better health and be more
motivated to work while businesses will benefit from ensuring that older employees continue to work.
Therefore, this paper aims at deriving a host of measures that companies can apply to take preventive
steps to counteract demographic changes with the help of a corporate age management program.
      Initially, this paper will discuss established models focusing on maintaining and boosting
employees’ health that also contain motivational aspects. They lay the foundation for developing an
extended theoretical model, which this paper centers on. On this basis, we will provide an overview
of the latest research findings. Factors having a considerable impact on the relation between work
motivation and health will be integrated into the extended model. Finally, insights derived from the
literature will be translated into the corporate setting with the help of an age management program.

2. Selected Theoretical Models Illustrating the Relation between Work Motivation and Health
     The job demand-control model was developed by Robert Karasek in 1979 and is considered to
be one of the most important theoretical concepts to explain work-related illnesses [10]. It comprises
two dimensions of job-related parameters: (1) Job demands such as time pressure, complexity, and the
degree of difficulty and (2) job control in planning and decision-making processes based on autonomy,
work-related learning potentials, and skill utilization. The effects of increased demands on the health
and wellbeing of employees depend on their degree of control.
     In the 1990s, Jeffrey Johnson developed the demand-control model into the demand-control-
support model. He expanded the original model by adding the dimension of social support at
work [11]. According to his understanding, demanding jobs with low job control (autonomy) and low
social support entail a high risk for an employee’s health (isolated high-strain jobs).
     Simultaneously, Johannes Siegrist developed the effort-reward imbalance model [12], which is
also referred to as the model of professional gratification crises. This model puts the focus more on
rewards and resources and less on control. Rewards are grouped into three categories: financial,
socio-emotional (recognition, appreciation), and status-related (career opportunities, job security).
In addition, personal coping skills of employees are taken into consideration. According to this model,
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, x                                                                                3 of 14

        In the past decade, the demands-resources model was developed, which rests on the
 assumptions of the demand-control model and the effort-reward imbalance model and expands
 these.
Int.       In addition
     J. Environ. Res. PublictoHealth
                                the 2018,
                                     two 15,
                                           dimensions
                                              779         of demands and strains, the model is also based on                    3 ofthe
                                                                                                                                     14
 assumption that two important psychological processes characterize work. The first path relates to
 health complaints and implies that chronically high job demands put a strain on the physical and
an   imbalance
 mental             of demands
            resources                and rewards
                          of employees,      which combined
                                                     may causewith        low personal
                                                                    exhaustion              coping
                                                                                     and health        skills considerably
                                                                                                    problems                     steps
                                                                                                                  [13]. The second
up   the   risk  of developing       a stress-related   disorder.
 path describes the motivational process saying that the resources of work also function as motivators
        In the in
 and result     past   decade,
                    high          the demands-resources
                          job commitment                      model
                                                 and excellence,    thuswas   developed, adverse
                                                                            diminishing       which rests     on the
                                                                                                         health       assumptions
                                                                                                                  effects  [13].
of theIndemand-control           model    and  the effort-reward     imbalance       model    and  expands
            2013 a multi-disciplinary theoretical concept was developed in the context of the “lidA-leben       these.  In  addition
to  the   two   dimensions        of demands     and  strains, the    model    is also   based   on
 in der Arbeit” study, a cohort study on health, work, age, and work participation [14]. The cohort   the  assumption       that  two
important
 study examined psychological
                        how various  processes    characterize
                                          work-related    factorswork.
                                                                   influenceThethe first  pathstatus
                                                                                       health   relates of to  health
                                                                                                           older        complaints
                                                                                                                   employees      [15].
and    implies    that  chronically      high  job demands     put    a strain   on   the  physical
 The lidA framework on work, age, health, and work participation illustrates the complexities of work  and   mental   resources      of
employees,
 participationwhich        mayemployees.
                     of older      cause exhaustion
                                                Figure and    health
                                                         1 shows        problemsversion
                                                                     a modified        [13]. Theof second
                                                                                                    the lidA   path  describesfrom
                                                                                                                 framework         the
motivational        process    saying   that  the resources   of work     also  function    as  motivators
 Peter and Hasselhorn. The model rests on the assumption that work participation of older employees             and  result   in  high
job   commitment
 affects    employment  and excellence,
                               through the   thus  diminishingofadverse
                                                determinants                  health effects
                                                                      work ability       and work[13]. motivation. It presents
        In 2013
 possible         a multi-disciplinary
              effects  on work participation  theoretical  concept
                                                    and mutual        was developed in the context of the “lidA-leben
                                                                    dependencies.
in derOne  Arbeit”    study,    a cohort   study   on  health,
               version of the model contains eleven influencingwork,     age,factors
                                                                                and work that participation      [14]. of
                                                                                               affect the decision      Thehow cohort
                                                                                                                                  long
study     examined      how    various    work-related    factors  influence     the   health
 a person will keep working [16]. The work ability and work motivation are determinants of workstatus   of older   employees      [15].
The    lidA framework
 participation      that also oneffect
                                   work,  age, health,
                                        health.          and work
                                                 Work ability   means participation
                                                                           being ableillustrates      the complexities
                                                                                         to work, whereas        motivation  of refers
                                                                                                                                work
participation
 to a person’s readiness and willingness to work [6]. Burr et al. [17] show that health and Peter
                   of  older   employees.     Figure  1 shows   a modified      version    of the  lidA   framework      from    work
and    Hasselhorn.
 participation      mustThe   model
                            not        rests onbethe
                                  necessarily        assumption
                                                   mutually          that work
                                                              dependent:           participation
                                                                               In 2010,    more than of older   employees
                                                                                                         50 percent            affects
                                                                                                                       of all people
employment
 who did notthrough              the determinants
                      work reported                    of work
                                           to be in good          ability
                                                              health        and more
                                                                         while     work than
                                                                                           motivation.
                                                                                                  30 percent It presents
                                                                                                                   of the possible
                                                                                                                             working
effects    on  work    participation     and   mutual
 population rated their state of health as poor.        dependencies.

                Figure 1. The lidA framework (modified according to Peter & Hasselhorn 2013 [14]).
                Figure 1. The lidA framework (modified according to Peter & Hasselhorn 2013 [14]).

 3. Current State of Research
      One version of the model contains eleven influencing factors that affect the decision of how long
       The will
a person    association    between
                 keep working        work
                                  [16]. The motivation
                                             work abilityand andhealth   is theoretically
                                                                  work motivation             well-established
                                                                                        are determinants        and
                                                                                                           of work
 empirically   grounded    [18–23]. Resulting   connections   with   regard  to mental    health
participation that also effect health. Work ability means being able to work, whereas motivation and  psychological
 disorders
refers  to a such as burnout,
             person’s   readinessdepression, or states
                                   and willingness    toof exhaustion
                                                         work           due
                                                                [6]. Burr    to stress
                                                                          et al.        at work
                                                                                 [17] show    thathave been
                                                                                                   health   studied
                                                                                                          and work
 and discussed
participation     at length
                must          [24–29]. be mutually dependent: In 2010, more than 50 percent of all people
                       not necessarily
who didFernet
           not [30]
               workdemonstrates
                      reported to bethat motivation
                                      in good   health has
                                                       whileanmore
                                                               impact   on30
                                                                     than  the   abilityofofthe
                                                                              percent        employees
                                                                                                working to adjust to
                                                                                                         population
 their  work    environment     and
rated their state of health as poor. on   their  mental    health.  Salmela-Aro     and    Nurmi    [31] argue that
 motivation is a key mechanism for maintaining a person’s wellbeing at work. A motivated employee
3.
 whoCurrent
       has aState   of Research
              positive   attitude to work can handle and avoid stress better. According to Locke and
 Lathman [24], motivation springs from goals defined by the employees themselves. Progress in
      The association between work motivation and health is theoretically well-established and
 reaching one’s goals boosts employee wellbeing and health. In this respect, goals based on an intrinsic
empirically grounded [18–23]. Resulting connections with regard to mental health and psychological
 motivation, meaning that people feel an inner joy of doing their work, are particularly beneficial to a
disorders such as burnout, depression, or states of exhaustion due to stress at work have been studied
 person’s health [22].
and discussed at length [24–29].
       Björklund et al. [20] also confirmed the connection between work motivation and subjective
      Fernet [30] demonstrates that motivation has an impact on the ability of employees to adjust to
 wellbeing. They reported about employees with health complaints who were less motivated than those
their work environment and on their mental health. Salmela-Aro and Nurmi [31] argue that motivation
 enjoying good health. In their study on changes in work motivation and its effects on health they also
is a key mechanism for maintaining a person’s wellbeing at work. A motivated employee who has a
 found out that the more an employee’s work motivation degrades the higher his or her risk to fall ill.
positive attitude to work can handle and avoid stress better. According to Locke and Lathman [24],
motivation springs from goals defined by the employees themselves. Progress in reaching one’s goals
boosts employee wellbeing and health. In this respect, goals based on an intrinsic motivation, meaning
that people feel an inner joy of doing their work, are particularly beneficial to a person’s health [22].
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 779                                                   4 of 14

      Björklund et al. [20] also confirmed the connection between work motivation and subjective
wellbeing. They reported about employees with health complaints who were less motivated than those
enjoying good health. In their study on changes in work motivation and its effects on health they also
found out that the more an employee’s work motivation degrades the higher his or her risk to fall ill.
Lohela et al. [21] succeeded in demonstrating that a decline in an employee’s commitment, which is
comparable to work motivation, had a negative impact on that person’s health in the long run.
      However, work motivation may not only benefit an employee’s mental health but may also
increase the risk of mental disorders [21,23,30,31]. According to Salmela-Aro & Nurmi [25] and
Pines [25], highly motivated people run the risk of developing burnout. Employees may also suffer
from burnout if their working environment does not match their expectations and their job does not
offer opportunities for reaching their self-defined goals [26,31].
      In their longitudinal study examining the association between work motivation and health,
Feißel et al. [18,19] identified the work ability as the decisive determinant of work motivation and
health. For their analyses, they performed reciprocal directed multifactorial variance analyses with
work motivation (Model 1) and health (Model 2), stepwise expanded by work ability and other
influencing factors (year of birth, sex, education, income, Blossfeld classification, working hours, and
work-related stress). As a result, in model 1, work ability shows its influence on work motivation with
constancy also when additional influencing factors were integrated. Model 2 shows work ability as
a determinant on health as well as work motivation. Therefore, work ability can be confirmed as an
essential determinant of work motivation as well as of health. Consequently, both an employee’s work
motivation and subjective state of health increase with his/her degree of work ability [19].
      Work ability is defined as a person’s capability of coping the demands of work to a given point
of time with his human resources [27]. According to Tengland [28], a person has work ability if she
has the physical, mental, and social health, manual, intellectual, and social competences, as well as
occupational virtues and the relevant job-specific virtues. The higher a person’s competence and health
are, and the more flexibility, coping strategies, and occupational virtues she has, the higher her work
ability is [28]. Work ability has an effect on an employee’s well-being and influences work disability,
sick leave, and early retirement as well as a company’s productivity [29]. Risk factors that threaten
older people’s work ability are heavy physical activity, stressful work, and workplaces and a poor
organization of work like a lack of understanding, fear of failure, or conflicts [32]. The association
between work motivation and work ability is a central aspect of the lidA framework [10]. It refers to
the work ability as a factor influencing work motivation. At the same time, motivational factors, values,
and attitudes have an impact on a person’s work ability [32]. Illmarinen [33] states that motivation is
part of heaving work ability.
      Regarding the association between health and work ability, Ilmarinen [29] confirms that health
influences work ability. He postulates health as an individual factor of employees that influences a
person’s work ability at a rate of about 40 percent. Nevertheless, it is also possible to have a good work
ability despite poor health [29]. So, health is not a necessary requirement for work ability, but people
need to have some degree of health, such as being able to walk, concentrate, talk etc. [28]. Also,
Tengland [28] states that even if you are perfectly healthy, you might still not have work ability, since
most kinds of work require special competences. However, Sun et al. [34] show that low working
ability as well as low level of resilience are related to the likelihood of having depression.
      In the light of the empirical results, work ability has a positive effect on work motivation
and health. Therefore, it is useful to focus on the work ability of middle-aged employees functioning as
a so-called “link” to maintain and enhance the work motivation and health of employees [18,19]. If an
employer makes an effort to maintain and promote work ability, this will affect both the employees’
health and work motivation. This means that employers can use the work ability as an adjustment
tool to maintain and boost health and work motivation at the same time. This can be considered as
a beneficial measure to keep employees engaged at work [19]. Isolated measures to either stimulate
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 779                                                     5 of 14

work motivation or to boost health seem to be counterproductive. By pursuing an integrated approach,
it is possible to save unnecessary (direct and indirect) costs.

4. Factors Influencing Work Motivation and Health
      Below, the authors will introduce empirically verified determinants that are seen as highly relevant
for introducing and implementing a corporate age management policy.

4.1. Socio-Demographic Parameters
      To understand the association between work motivation and health as affected by the work ability,
it is crucial to consider the socio-demographic parameters of age and—to a lesser extent—gender.
With regard to the work ability, there is consent if age is identified as an influencing factor. According to
Prümper and Richenhagen [35], the employees’ work ability generally declines with biological age.
They also report that the variability of work ability increases drastically at the age of 45. This is
in line with the result of Pojohnen [36], who found that the effect of age on the work ability index
(WAI) is significant only after the age of 45. Accordingly, older employees differ more in their work
ability than younger people. That is why measures should be tailored to their individual needs.
Also, Tuomi et al. [37] show that the probability of a low work ability increases with age. However,
Abbashi et al. [38], Wilke et al. [39], and Golubic et al. [40] state no significant impact of age on
work ability. These results are in line with Padula et al. [41], who found no differences between
work ability in relation to age, but they observed an increase variability of responses for WAI score
in older worker. There seems to be no differences between men and women in terms of their work
ability [41].
      Studies of work motivation show no or little differences as regards age and gender. Frerichs [42],
Rabl [43], and Koji et al. [44] demonstrate that older employees are not necessarily less motivated than
younger ones but that other factors play a role for older and younger employees. In contrast to younger
employees, older staff members tend to be more interested in receiving recognition and passing on
their knowledge, to have more freedom to make decisions and take control, and to participate in
decision-making processes [45]. Feißel [18] reports only slight differences between the genders when it
comes to work motivation.
      As concerns the subjective state of the health of employees, Feißel et al. [46] and Burr et al. [17]
both state that the share of employees with good health declines with age irrespective of their gender.
Both age-specific and gender-specific differences have been identified with regard to health complaints.
Burr et al. [17] and report an increase in health problems with increasing age that have a negative
impact on a person’s subjective state of health. In general, women have more health issues, whereas
men often have more serious illnesses such as cancer or cardiovascular diseases which helps to explain
why women live longer compared to men [47].
      According to the above-cited empirical findings, work motivation is not or hardly dependent on
age and gender, however, both socio-demographic parameters have a strong impact on a person’s work
ability and/or health. That is why it is essential to take them into consideration in the extended model.
In addition, biological age is a factor inevitably tied to an age management strategy.

4.2. Occupation Categories
     Belonging to a certain occupation category has been identified as another moderating determinant
of the relation between work motivation and health as affected by the work ability. Among others,
Hasselhorn and Freude [48], Tuomi et al. [37], and Tuomi et al. [49] studied the relationship between
the work ability and current occupation. Hasselhorn and Freude [48] report that the work ability
develops in different ways within different occupation categories. For instance, we can expect the
work ability of doctors and executives of all age groups to be significantly higher than, for example,
that of teachers. The reason for this is the association between work ability and work-related and
health-related factors in predominantly mentally challenged occupational groups [48]. Tuomi et al. [37]
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 779                                                   6 of 14

and Tuomi et al. [49] state that the higher the percentage of heavy physical loading during work is the
poorer is the level of work ability.
      Feißel et al. [46] demonstrate that employees in higher qualified jobs, so-called white-collar jobs,
are both healthier and more highly motivated than employees in low-skilled jobs, so-called blue-collar
jobs, who rank among those with the smallest share of employees with good health and high motivation.
In their study on motivation and health, Björkelund et al. [20] also confirm that white-collar employees
have the highest work motivation among the working population. Presumably, better working
conditions and recognition in higher qualified jobs will lead to higher work motivation. In their study,
Burr et al. [17] proved the impact of belonging to a certain occupation category on health. They found
evidence that employees reporting the largest share of positive health can be found in higher qualified
jobs. A number of studies [17,18,20,48] succeeded in demonstrating that a person’s current occupation
plays a decisive role for his/her work ability, work motivation, and health. Therefore, it should be
factored in as an influencing factor in the model.

4.3. Work-Related Stress
      Work-related stress results from an imbalance of demands and control or rewards/recognition
at the workplace and has been identified as a factor influencing work motivation, health, and the
work ability. Its impact on health and motivation has already been grounded theoretically in the
selected models described above [10,12]. That is the reason why work-related stress is applied to the
extended model presented.
      According to Schreurs et al. [50], work motivation is negatively associated with job demands and
positively with rewards or recognition for work. In the long run, increasing stress has a negative effect
on motivation [42]. The relationship between work-related stress and health as well as diseases or
health problems has already been studied by du Prel et al. [51], Van Vegchel et al. [52,53], Wilkins and
Beaudet [54], as well as Karasek and Theorell [55]. They show that work-related stress has a negative
impact on a person’s health and may cause depression, hypertension, and cardiovascular disorders,
among others. Feißel [18] also studied how work-related stress affects work motivation and health.
They found a trend towards an increase in work motivation and the share of positive health when
work-related stress decreased. Inequalities in gratification models and gratification expectations that a
person cannot reach in his or her current position cause excessive stress that is harmful to that person’s
health which in return may discourage and demotivate an employee [54].
      In summary, the empirical findings show that the socio-demographic parameters of age and
gender as well as a person’s occupation belongs to and work-related stress influence the association
between work motivation and health as affected by the work ability as a constant factor. Figure 2
illustrates this relationship as a segment of the lidA framework shown in Figure 1, expanded by the
influencing factors of age, gender, current occupation, and work-related stress that have been identified.
      Finally, we will integrate the above-mentioned models and influencing factors identified into an
extended model explaining the association between work motivation and health as affected by the
work ability in a corporate setting in view of a corporate age management policy.
      The model centers on the relation between work motivation and health, both being constantly
affected by a person’s work ability. In view of the empirical findings, it makes sense to concentrate on
the work ability of middle-aged employees in order to maintain or boost their work motivation and
health [6,19]. The three determinants of work participation have already been discussed by Peter and
Hasselhorn in their lidA framework [14] (Figure 3, Box 1).
      In their job demands-resources model, Demerouti and Bakker [13] refer to work-related demands
and resources/rewards that can boost motivation if in balance and may cause health issues due to
work-related stress if not in balance. A number of other studies also identified work-related stress to
be a decisive factor having an impact on work motivation and health. It has therefore been considered
in the model (Figure 3, Box 2).
harmful to that person’s health which in return may discourage and demotivate an employee [54].
        In summary, the empirical findings show that the socio-demographic parameters of age and
gender as well as a person’s occupation belongs to and work-related stress influence the association
between        workRes.
     Int. J. Environ.    motivation
                            Public Healthand
                                         2018, health
                                               15, x   as affected by the work ability as a constant factor. Figure   7 of 14 2
illustrates this relationship as a segment of the lidA framework shown in Figure 1, expanded by the
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 779
influencing  Finally,
                  factorswe of
                             will  integrate
                                 age, gender,the    above-mentioned
                                                 current  occupation, models    and influencing
                                                                       and work-related     stressfactors identified
                                                                                                   that have         into7an
                                                                                                                           of 14
                                                                                                             been identified.
     extended model explaining the association between work motivation and health as affected by the
     work ability in a corporate setting in view of a corporate age management policy.
             The model centers on the relation between work motivation and health, both being constantly
     affected by a person’s work ability. In view of the empirical findings, it makes sense to concentrate
     on the work ability of middle-aged employees in order to maintain or boost their work motivation
     and health [6,19]. The three determinants of work participation have already been discussed by Peter
     and Hasselhorn in their lidA framework [14] (Figure 3, Box 1).
             In their job demands-resources model, Demerouti and Bakker [13] refer to work-related
     demands and resources/rewards that can boost motivation if in balance and may cause health issues
     due to work-related stress if not in balance. A number of other studies also identified work-related
     stress to be a decisive factor having an impact on work motivation and health. It has therefore been
     considered in the model (Figure 3, Box 2).
             The type of work or an employee’s occupation category largely determines the content of his or
     her work and thus demands and resources/strains [56]. It has therefore also been integrated into the
     model (Figure 3, Box 3). An evaluation of the socio-demographic parameters of age and gender make
     it possible to identify risk groups having a great need for support (Figure 3, Box 4).
             Businesses have an important role to play when it comes to coping with demographic change
     [9]. Since the perspective on older employees and their value for a company has shifted as a result of
     demographic challenges and the intended extension of working life [9], a corporate age management
     policy is gaining importance forming a framework for the theoretical model. In the model, change
     processes beneficial to an employee’s health and intervention strategies to maintain and promote
     employee work ability take center stage (Figure 3, Box 5). In an organization, both behavior and
     condition-oriented measures play a role in this context.
             On the one hand, good working conditions and a high quality of life at work promote the
     employees’ health, work motivation and work ability and help safeguard the work participation of
        Figure
     older        2.2. The
              employees.Therelation
                             relation
                               On the    between
                                          otherwork
                                     between         work
                                                 hand,     motivation
                                                        they raiseand
                                                      motivation       and health
                                                                    a company’s
                                                                      health        as affected
                                                                                   productivity,
                                                                             as affected         by  the  work
                                                                                                   quality,
                                                                                         by the work        and ability—
                                                                                                                innovation
                                                                                                      ability—Expansion
     potential
        Expansion  (Figure
        to the factors     the3,factors
                        to age,   Box 6)age,
                                 gender,   [29].
                                              gender, occupation
                                           occupation              categories,
                                                       categories, and         and work-related
                                                                       work-related   stress.     stress.

         Figure 3. Suggestion for an extended model of the relation between work motivation and health (own
      Figure 3. Suggestion for an extended model of the relation between work motivation and health (own
         diagram).
      diagram).

     The type of work or an employee’s occupation category largely determines the content of his or
her work and thus demands and resources/strains [56]. It has therefore also been integrated into the
model (Figure 3, Box 3). An evaluation of the socio-demographic parameters of age and gender make
it possible to identify risk groups having a great need for support (Figure 3, Box 4).
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 779                                                   8 of 14

     Businesses have an important role to play when it comes to coping with demographic change [9].
Since the perspective on older employees and their value for a company has shifted as a result of
demographic challenges and the intended extension of working life [9], a corporate age management
policy is gaining importance forming a framework for the theoretical model. In the model, change
processes beneficial to an employee’s health and intervention strategies to maintain and promote
employee work ability take center stage (Figure 3, Box 5). In an organization, both behavior and
condition-oriented measures play a role in this context.
     On the one hand, good working conditions and a high quality of life at work promote the
employees’ health, work motivation and work ability and help safeguard the work participation of
older employees. On the other hand, they raise a company’s productivity, quality, and innovation
potential (Figure 3, Box 6) [29].

5. Discussion
      The model developed in this paper comprises a process focused on maintaining and promoting
work ability in order to maintain and boost work motivation and health. According to Burr et al. [17],
many people with poor health continue to work. Health issues and illness should therefore not be
equated with a poor work ability and retirement. Especially in view of the rise in chronic disorders,
this will apply to a growing number of employees in the future [57]. It is possible to maintain their
work ability by matching their reduced capacities with their job demands [7].
      The solution could be a corporate age management program that helps reduce work-related
stress on the one hand and on the other maintains and promotes the work ability as well as work
motivation and health. Age management means to integrate the age aspect into all business processes
and decisions so that employees can enjoy healthy and motivating work until retirement age [9].
      According to Sporket [58], for an age management policy to be successful and sustainable
participatorily implemented measures have proven to be particularly useful. As a tried and tested
instrument of ensuring employee participation as a means to diagnose problems and prepare measures
as required, health circles have proven to be successful [59]. Actively participating employees and
executives, if required, can discuss issues on an equal footing in order to find solutions agreed
on by all people involved. That means solutions are not solely implemented by order of the
management (top down) but the people concerned can develop and implement their own grass-root
ideas (bottom up) [60].
      Not only participation but also cooperation and sustainability play a key role when it comes
to implementing an age management policy [58]. Companies do not always have the necessary
competences to implement special measures so that collaboration with different partners may
be beneficial. We recommend cooperating externally mainly with scientific institutions, consulting
institutes, or social insurance agencies. Internally, it is useful to cooperate with corporate actors such
as the human resources department, the works council/staff representative and/or the occupational
safety and health protection officer. Sustainability is a key aspect of an age management policy.
Designing work processes to meet age requirements will only spell success if these processes are
consolidated in a structure and integrated into everyday work life. It is also possible to integrate
measures into existing target agreements or management systems and enshrine them in bargaining
agreements and guidelines [58].
      The authors believe the creation of a parallel structure to be counterproductive. Also, a
successful age management policy can only be implemented if it is not only geared to affecting
the behavior of individual actors within an organization but if it also creates conditions for an
age-adequate organization. Conditions provide clear structures and rules and consequently cause
individuals to behave in certain ways. Used positively, an age-adequate organization also offers a
chance to behave in age-adequate ways accepted by all people (colleagues and executives). Prevention
and health promotion should always comprise three levels: the individual level, the interpersonal
level, and the structural level [12].
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 779                                                   9 of 14

      A good balance of all levels will, on the one hand, increase the employees’ quality of life and
wellbeing and, on the other, boost productivity and the quality of work, which consequently promotes
business success. The objective is therefore to develop personal competences (behavior) and create
age-adequate working conditions (circumstance) that promote health to reach or optimize personal
and company goals [35].
      Since behavior prevention alone has little effect, it is useful to first focus on preventing certain
conditions or circumstances in order to lay the foundations for a healthy and age-adequate work
organization [34]. According to Prümper and Richenhagen [35], executives play a key role in
this context. Illmarinen and Tempel [61] also showed that leadership has the by far strongest effect on
the development of work ability. In practice, it is recommendable to give some thought to how good
leadership can work on an individual, interpersonal, and structural level as part of a corporate age
management policy.
      The individual level pertains to behavior prevention. Executives can significantly influence their
staff’s behavior. They function as role models and essentially shape work culture which forms the
decisive basis for health and wellbeing at work. Workplace culture and ethos are significantly related
to employees’ health, especially to the likelihood of heaving depression [34]. Demographic change
plays a central role in this context. Consequently, it is absolutely necessary to implement an age
management program supported, communicated and lived by the company’s management. Better and
especially age-adequate leadership has a very positive impact on the work ability of older employees
and generates acceptance among “still” young staff members [61].
      The interpersonal level aims at improving social relationships at work. Executives are required to
communicate to their staff the necessary appreciation, acceptance, and recognition of their performance,
to see their potential and to individually maintain and further develop their staff as best as possible in
the company’s interest. As Siegrist [12] describes in his effort-reward imbalance model, an imbalance
of efforts and recognition or rewards results in a higher risk to fall ill due to stress. Apart from
material recognition or rewards such as a pay raise, immaterial aspects in particular, such as timely and
well-founded praise for a person’s performance or showing emotions as well as appreciation of a person
by showing empathy have been identified. By building friendly and respectful rapport, executives
can positively influence the work ability of employees [62]. Large companies can offer non-monetary
incentives according to the individual needs of their employees. This mainly pertains to measures
improving the work-life balance. These may include the flexible organization of working hours, career
opportunities matching a person’s qualifications, giving a job guarantee, and offering in-house services
such as corporate sports programs or a corporate kindergarten [60]. Salciuviene et al. [63] discuss the
importance of a perceived corporate social responsibility to gain advantages over other companies,
to achieve their goals and profits. They develop a theoretical model of small and medium-sized
enterprise corporate social responsibility initiative implementation. They show that companies that
integrate corporate social responsibility benefit from reduced turnover, increased productivity of
their employees and their reputation [63], because corporate social responsibility activities contribute
positively to the company’s image [64]. Gharleghi et al. [65] show that corporate social responsibility
supports employees creative work involvement as motivational factor, which leads to a positive work
attitude and reduces their intention to leave. Shin et al. [66] found that corporate social responsibility
is negative associated with counterproductive work behaviors including increased absenteeism and
turnover, as well as decreased satisfaction and productivity.
      The structural level pertains to a change in working conditions. By expanding autonomy at work,
an executive can help maintain his or her staff’s work ability. As described in the demand-control
model (see above), high job demands only have an adverse effect on the employees’ health and
wellbeing if connected with few opportunities to take control, e.g., limited freedom to make decisions.
For business practice, this means it is paramount to expand opportunities for employees to take control
to maintain their work ability in the long run, particularly in view of rising work-related stress levels,
growing workloads, and the resulting intensification of work [35]. Special measures expanding the
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 779                                                              10 of 14

scope of control include job enrichment, job enlargement, and job rotation. Job enrichment can be
described as a means to extend the responsibilities and autonomy of employees; job enlargement refers
to an expansion of tasks without giving an employee more responsibility, and job rotation entails a job
change within the company [35]. If used selectively and thoughtfully, these tools may be applied as
instruments of age management. In order to offer employees opportunities for learning and growth as
well as skill trainings and thus more freedom to take control, it is essential to expand opportunities
for in-house and external further trainings. Such trainings play a particularly important role for older
employees. They need to use and be challenged to apply their cognitive skills to maintain them or even
advance them. But continuous training and learning to strengthen cognitive skills and competences
is not only important for older employees but for all staff members. Older employees can use their
skills purposefully to train and help younger co-workers, e.g., in mixed teams. That means that
executives and corporate culture are challenged to promote lifelong learning as a cross-generational
responsibility [29]. If there are employees at risk of losing their earning capacity, early workplace
interventions can help to preserve their work ability. Schwarze et al. [67] implemented an intervention
on people with musculoskeletal disorders including workplace-management, company medical service
and work-related out-patient medical prevention and rehabilitation. As a result, they show an
improved work ability, health status, and working capacity and a reduction of time lost due to
sick leave.
      Depending on the measures implemented, executives have a double function when it comes
to maintaining and promoting their staff’s work ability. On the one hand, they are role models for
age-adequate, healthy behavior and must lead in age-adequate and healthy ways; on the other hand,
they must communicate decisions and measures planned as part of a health-oriented management
strategy applied to the individual levels described before. The following Table 1 illustrates once again
the three levels using the examples mentioned above, supplemented with other measures that might
be applied within an age management program.

      Table 1. Concrete measures that may be applied as part of an age management program to maintain
      and strengthen work ability.

 Level                                                              Measures
                              being a role-model
                              behavior-based preventive approach to overall working conditions (environment
 individual
                              promoting physical activities, healthy nutrition at work, addiction prevention, stress
                              management, etc.)
                              appreciation/acceptance of the experience/competences of older employees
                              participation, participation in decision-making, involvement, empowerment
                              creating transparency, meaningfulness, offering support
                              integration in personnel development and recruiting processes
 interpersonal                flat hierarchies
                              culture of trust
                              age-adequate staff orientation
                              mixed teams
                              corporate social responsibility activities
                              extending opportunities for control/autonomy
                              offering further training opportunities
                              need-based working time and vacation planning
 structural                   reduction of job demands
                              integration into existing management systems
                              age-adequate design of workplaces, work organization and work environment
                              incentive systems for remaining with the company
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 779                                                            11 of 14

6. Conclusions
     For securing work participation, optimized business management strategies must not only aim at
protecting health but also at safeguarding the employees’ motivation and work ability.
     This can be done as part of a corporate age management program, which will enable businesses
to respond to and counteract demographic changes, the aging of their staff, and the ensuing challenges.
The developed extended model of the association between work motivation and health as affected
by work ability linked age management and theories on health, work ability, and work motivation.
Older employees will be able to enjoy better health and be more motivated to work while businesses
will benefit from ensuring that older employees continue to work. The measures help companies to
apply to take preventive steps to counteract demographic changes with the help of a corporate age
management program.

Acknowledgments: The lidA-study was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research
(grant numbers 01ER0825, 01ER0826, 01ER0827 and 01ER0806). Part of this work was presented at the
annual congress of the German Society of Social Medicine and Prevention, (DGSMP) in Regensburg, Germany
(23–25 September 2015).
Author Contributions: The idea of this article was deviced by Annemarie Feißel. She drafted main parts of the
manuscript. All authors contributed to the content and introduced the decision criterion. All authors contributed
to the interpretation of the extended model and concrete measures. All authors revised the manuscript critically.
All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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